Graham cursed at acting DOD chief, declaring himself his 'adversary'

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamTrump declassification move unnerves Democrats Climate change is a GOP issue, too New Yorker cover titled 'The Shining' shows Graham, McConnell, Barr polishing Trump's shoes MORE (R-S.C.) says he confronted President TrumpDonald John TrumpPapadopoulos on AG's new powers: 'Trump is now on the offense' Pelosi uses Trump to her advantage Mike Pence delivers West Point commencement address MORE’s acting Pentagon chief in a heated exchange over the administration’s Syria strategy.

Speaking to acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanTrump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation Iran slams US troop deployment: 'Extremely dangerous' for Middle East peace Overnight Defense: 1,500 troops heading to Mideast to counter Iran | Trump cites Iran tensions to push through Saudi arms sale | Senate confirms Army, Navy chiefs before weeklong recess MORE at a briefing at the Munich Security Conference last weekend, the senator said he cursed at Shanahan and declared him an adversary.


Graham described his remarks to Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin, saying he told Shanahan that the Trump administration's plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria by the end of April was “the dumbest f---ing idea I’ve ever heard.”

“Well, if the policy is going to be that we are leaving by April 30, I am now your adversary, not your friend,” Graham said he told Shanahan.

Officials told NBC News about the exchange, with some lawmakers saying the briefing left them with less confidence in Shanahan, and one describing the episode with Graham as “pretty tense.”

Shanahan reportedly further frustrated lawmakers by refusing to state his opinion on President Trump’s Syria decision.

A Defense Department official told NBC News that the meeting “ended on a positive note” despite the tense exchange.

Shanahan stepped into the role of Defense chief after James MattisJames Norman MattisTrump defense pick expected to face tense confirmation Trump's nastiest break-ups: A look at the president's most fiery feuds Shanahan orders new restrictions on sharing of military operations with Congress: report MORE abruptly left the administration in what was seen as a rebuke of Trump’s Syria strategy.

Graham has been one of the harshest Capitol Hill critics of Trump’s Syria withdrawal plan. He continued that criticism after the exchange with Shanahan, telling the Post’s Rogin: “After Iraq, not only would this be a mistake, this would be almost an unpardonable sin, in the sense that you know what can happen. This can risk his whole presidency.”